Archive for June 9th, 2007

“Quota hasn’t helped anyone”: Kumaraswamy

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

What’s with the Gowdas? After enacting one of the most enthralling dramas in Indian politics which led to Gowda Jr. becoming Chief Minister of Karnataka after enlisting the support of the communal [for the Humble Farmer Gowda Sr.] BJP, the father-son duo tag again. Only this time the issue at hand is the veritable holy cow of Indian politics, reservation.

Here is what the Chief Minister of Karnataka, H.D Kumaraswamy had to say about the socially just policy:

“Reservation has failed to help any community in the last 40 years. Even if the internal reservation is evolved, it will hardly help any community to prosper.”

Stating that there were poor people in all communities, including Brahmins and Lingayats, Mr. Kumaraswamy said, “A 38-year-old Brahmin woman in Dakshina Kannada district earned Rs. 200 a month and she was taking care of her husband and son, both of whom are sick.”

“I have no hesitation to say that we (politicians) have been trying to mislead the people on reservation only to gain political advantage,” he said.

(as seen in The Hindu | link)

Now such honesty is indeed very laudable, were it not for Kumaraswamy’s reputation of a foolish politician. Still, truth has to count for something.

Interestingly, Kumaraswamy’s views differ sharply from that of his father. In the same article, Gowda Sr. is quoted as saying:

 ”Since the last five years, I have been asking successive governments to evolve `internal reservation’ so that the Thigala community could be helped to improve its economic status,”

 But the idea of internal reservation sounds nice. why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. Somebody ask Comrade Prakash Karat the number of SC/ST/OBC politicians in the CPM politburo. Ask Comrade Raja about social representation in the CPI Central Secretariat. Then you’ll know why.

“Reservation can’t divide an already divided society”

Saturday, June 9th, 2007
“Our [gujjar and meena - RA] culture is the same, our status in the villages is the same, we live side by side, share the same well and smoke hookah together. Why then do they get the jobs and scholarships but we don’t?”Bainsla says this is because the Meenas were given st status in 1954. “Reservations provide a sort of guarantee,” he says. “Give that guarantee to everybody or nobody.”

 (as seen in Tehelka | link)

The Gurjars and the Meenas seem to have been living most harmoniously before the “socially just” policy of reservation was implemented.

And yet, its supporters will have us believe that reservation does NOT divide society.

Another curious fact - all the great votaries of reservation, starting and moving downwards from Arjun Singh, seem to have lost the ability to communicate ever since the Gujjar agitation for ST status came to the fore.

What is the way out of this reservation imbroglio ?

United Students proposes a multiple-index related, point based scheme of affirmative action that will analyize people as citizens of India rather than just as belonging to x or y caste. We believe that caste continues to be important in the Indian social scheme, but economic conditions, gender, regional and educational imbalances are also important factors of exclusion operating in society.

Any effective affirmative action scheme ought to holistically address these various factors rather than just the factor of caste, which only reinforces caste divides in society [as proved by the Gujjar - Meena clashes].
(Read more)